Father, son combo in Miss. Legislature

Published 7:38 pm Wednesday, January 10, 2007

For the first time in memory, a father and son will serve in the Mississippi Legislature at the same time.

Two new state representatives were sworn in Tuesday, bringing the Mississippi House back up to a full membership of 122 and giving the Legislature its first father-son simultaneous officeholders.

Rep. Harvey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, won a special election to fill the District 101 seat vacated by his son, Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, who recently moved to the Senate. The House district encompasses parts of Lamar and Forrest counties.

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Rep. Ken Morgan, R-Columbia, was sworn in to represent District 100, which includes parts of Marion, Lamar and Jefferson Davis counties. He fills a seat vacated by first-term Rep. Virginia Carlton, R-Columbia, who recently was sworn in as a member of the state Court of Appeals.

Morgan’s opponent in the special election, former Rep. O.K. “Kenny” Moore, D-Columbia, has until Friday to decide whether to file a lawsuit challenging the conduct of the election. Moore inspected ballot boxes this week. He served in the House 2000-2004.

Carlton and Joey Fillingane resigned from the House after winning their new offices in late 2006; they started their new jobs this month.

Morgan, 55, is the owner of a welding business.

“I’ve heard a lot of talk about politicians and statesmen. I want to be remembered as a statesman, not a politician,” Morgan said.

Harvey Fillingane, 67, a retired carpenter, posed for pictures with his son after being sworn in.

“I just enjoy the opportunity to serve my district the best possible way I can,” Harvey Fillingane said.

Speaker Pro Tempore J.P. Compretta, D-Bay St. Louis, looked over the men’s family and friends in the House chamber, saying “that kind of support is hard to beat.

“And then they’re able to present already their ideas and their dreams, in which they’ll be able hopefully to carry out during this year and the years to come,” Compretta said.

Several children have followed a parent in office, but none have served simultaneously.

A set of brothers is now serving at the Mississippi Capitol: Shaun Walley is in the House, and Shannon Walley is in the Senate. Both are Democrats from Leakesville.

A husband-wife combination served for several years before this term. Rep. Ed Blackmon, D-Canton, is still in office. His wife, former Sen. Barbara Blackmon, D-Canton, opted to run for lieutenant governor in 2003 rather than seek re-election to the Senate. She was the Democratic nominee for the statewide office and lost to Republican incumbent Amy Tuck in the general election.